Wednesday, December 30, 2009


After I cut down my frangipani tree, new leaves have grown on the old stumps. However, the plant has stopped producing flowers altogether. Before it was cut down, it was flowering non-stop.

The funny thing is, the chopped off branches which I had replanted have started producing flowers. What's strange is, there are no leaves growing on these branches yet. All you see is a short stump with a gorgeous bunch of flowers growing at the tip.

The same thing is happening to the other stump which I had planted in a pot. As you can see here, flower buds are already showing at the tips of the bare branches.
In case you're wondering, these branches are really short, less than a foot high.
Therefore, if you should ever cut down your frangipani plant, don't throw away the branches. Just poke them into a pot of soil and you'll be rewarded with pretty blooms in no time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


My garden has been so neglected, just like my blog, it was in a state of disgrace. I dedicated all morning removing dead leaves and throwing out diseased plants until a downpour sent me indoors. The rain gave me an opportunity to scrub the patio and unclog the drainage.

The garden is tidy and green now. Maybe a little too green. I need more colours!

More photos of the different sections.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're doing OK!

Sorry for the absence. Everyone's ok around here. Thanks to the rainy season, the plants seem to be doing even better than before. I had almost given up on these 'bai cai' after they kept getting chewed up by snails, but look at them now! They're growing too fast for the snails to catch up.

The cute beanie shoots have grown into creepers now. It's time to build some support before they start climbing all over my other plants.

The corianders are moving along nicely, I just wish they are more tidy. They seem to be falling all over the place.

Everything else in the garden is fine. Now that the patio is getting lots of sun, there seem to be less cases of parasites and infestations. The sun is really a panacea for all kinds of plant ailments.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

So boomz!

Now that the patio is getting full blast of sun all day, which only happens during the last quarter of the year, the flowers are blooming again. I also find that it's also the best time to grow vegetables, except that I have to be very diligent in watering or they get dehydrated very quickly. It's not surprising to return home to limpy kangkong in the evenings. The good thing is they perk up after dousing with water. Vegetables that do not get enough water may turn out bitter when cooked.

I grew some of my favourite beans the other day. I'm not sure what they're called but the beans are big, round and speckled with pretty purple bits. They have sprouted already. Aren''t this cute?

The small rose plant is flowering again. I see another bud at the tip of the plant, so I'll be expecting another bloom soon. This is so Boomz!

I like how the basil plant is covered with purple flowers. To me, this is like my local version of lavender. I doubt I can grow lavender in our hot and humid climate, so I'll just be contented with a blooming basil.

The bees love them too. I often see them buzzing around the plant. Too bad I didn't manage to capture any in action today.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pretty fast

This little roselle plant grew from the seeds of a larger plant in my garden. Frankly I didn't pay any attention to the new seedlings. Some died but this one survived. I didn't even see any flowers recently but now there are 2 fruits on the small plant. Quite surprising really.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flowers galore

I love it when my garden is blooming!

Yellow portulaca.

And basil.

Fresh seeds

I like to think that a gardener is able to grow anything. I'm not saying I'm a good gardener but so far, most seeds that I have sown, even lychee and orange seeds, germinate into seedlings. The difficulty is getting them to grow and thrive in our tropical climate.

This year, I sowed two batches of coriander (cilantro) seeds and none of them germinated. Thinking that the first pack that I bought from the supermarket must have sat on the shelves for too long, I bought another batch from the seed wholesaler.

I tried all ways and means to grow them. I soaked some seeds in water and even crushed some lightly to break the tough layer of husk before sowing. Nothing worked.

It was puzzling because my friends scatter the seeds on the ground and they grow effortlessly. I thought maybe the conditions are not right at my house but a gardener doesn't give up so easily.

I begged my friend for some of her seeds (I didn't beg. She offered them happily.) and guess what? All the seeds that I've sown germinated in a week. It's too good to be true.

At this point, I believe the quality of seeds is very important. The ones that have been languishing on the shelves for too long will no longer germinate. For me, I prolong mine by keeping them in the refrigerator. They're still good even after one year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Horrible snails!

Petunia's pissed off with one snail and I'm just fuming over a bunch of them. They eat up our favourite plants you see.

That one in her patio ate up all her chamomile seedlings. I can feel her pain. Chamomile is not the easiest plant to grow. I've had no success so far.

A whole family of snails has been feasting on my succulent bai cai. It just pisses me off to see them attacking my vegetables when there are so many other things they can eat in the garden.

At first I couldn't even find the sneaky culprits. They only started crawling out when I flooded the pot with water.

See how badly they've chewed up my bai cai! I put them in a can and threw them down the rubbish chute. They can go eat rubbish for the rest of their life for all I care!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bai Cai

The young and tender Bai Cai vegetables must be so delicious, so much so that I can't stop the little snails from nibbling.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I harvested my kang kong last night but they ended up in the trash instead of the wok. The underside of the leaves were infested with mealy bugs! I'm quite fed-up of this never-ending problem. I wonder if the soil is infected or because I have not taken any steps to keep the bugs under control. Whatever it is, it is plain discouraging to grow vegetables in my patio.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Amazing rose

I brought back some small rose stem cuttings from my parent's place several weeks back and simply chucked them into a pot of soil. Small leaves started sprouting from the twigs. This plant is barely 10cm tall yet a beautiful rose has already blossomed. Quite amazing really.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Harvest time

Some snails have gotten to my kai lan before I did. Some of the lovely leaves have been chewed up but that won't stop me from making a stir fried dish for dinner tonight. In case you're wondering, I'm cooking the vegetables, not the snails!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An edible garden

Like the plants in my garden, I need plenty of sunlight in my life. Lately the sun has been creeping back slowly and I am feeling alive once again, so much so that I've started scattering vegetable seeds with wild abandon.

Gardening teaches one to be patient and I still have much to learn. As a result of my impatience, I don't often give my plants sufficient time to prove themselves. Take my frangipani stems for instance. I got tired of waiting around for the shoots to appear, I threw 6 pots away. The one that got spared is now producing shoots after many months.

I'm now tempted to throw away the sickly chilli plants in the corner. The leaves are curly and diseased from the lack of sun. I wonder if they can wait around for the sunlight to creep back and make them strong enough to fight all the pests that have been sucking the life out of them.

On the other hand, the chilli plants in the sunny area are doing so well, they are starting to produce fruits.

Some plants like the pennywort simply thrive in the shade. When I brought it home, it was small and limpy but this unimpressive plant has grown by leaps and bounds, it is outgrowing the container.

When I saw Petunia's blog about gotu kola or pennywort, I pinched myself for my impatience. After learning about the bountiful benefits of this plant months ago, I chewed the bitter leaves for several days only to drop out of this regime soon after.

Now that I am reminded of the wonders of this plant, I shall chomp a few leaves daily for the sake of my complexion and health. In fact, I found another species of Gotu Kola while I was out hiking recently and brought a small specimen home and plonked it in a pot. It is showing signs of growth albeit too slowly for my consumption.

The 'pai chai' seeds that I scattered a week ago have germinated.

Don't you think the seedlings are so cute! This is my first attempt at growing this vegetable.

I sowed some kang kong seeds and they've all germinated too. That means the seeds are still fresh.

The kale are about 3 weeks old now. Due to over crowding, they're growing untidily in the small container. They should be ready for eating in less than 2 weeks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kale seedlings

I sowed a pot of kale seeds a week ago. Though the planter box is compact, you would be surprised at how well they can grow. I've grown kang kong and chye sim successfully on these small containers in my patio. A pot like this can produce enough vegetables for a family meal.

The true leaves are finally emerging. Kale leaves are very pretty, with a naturally waxy powder-like surface. Freshly harvested kale is extremely crisp with a nice bite when stir-fried. After tasting home grown kale, I can never bring myself to buy from the market anymore.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beautiful Gardens of Provence

Summer is the best time to visit beautiful Provence in France. The weather is perfect and the gardens burst into a profusion of colours!

Lavender field.

Herbs for sale at the farmers market.

Even the wild flowers are beautiful.

The French are good gardeners.

A landscaped garden at the hotel.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Balinese Garden

After visiting Garden Tech exhibition at Hortpark last week, my friend and I adjourned to Gillman Village across the road for a drink.

It was a warm and humid afternoon, the exhibition area was hot and stifling, so we were glad to be out in the open again.

We walked across the old bridge that leads to Gillman Village and it brought back memories of the years I was studying at St Andrew's Junior College. Back then we used to swim at the pool at Gillman Barracks just behind our school.

While the army camp is now converted into a sleepy enclave hosting a cluster of bars, restaurants and furniture shops, the bridge remains unchanged, albeit older and worn out.

At the end of the bridge is a Balinese garden, sort of unkempt but naturally gorgeous and attractive. It leads to Villa Bali, a sprawling restaurant and bar set amidst luxuriant tropical garden with frangipanis and heliconias framing a water fountain and a Balinese pavilion.

The gorgeous sight really lifted our spirits on a muggy day. Soon, the sky opened up and heavy rain came pouring down. The tropical weather is just perfect for a garden like this.